13 Jan 2020 | National Championships |

Grace Kim leads home charge for #AusAm

by Martin Blake

Grace Kim image
Grace Kim is one of Australia's top chances this week.

Australian players have their sights on a first home-grown win in the women’s Australian Amateur championship since 2015 this week after a few years of foreign domination.

The past four amateur champions on the women’s side – South Korean Hong Yae Eun (2019), Hye-Jin Choi (2017) and Min-ji Park (2016) and Japan’s Suzuka Yamaguchi (2018) – have been from overseas, and a strong foreign contingent is in the field of 77 players who contest the national titles at Royal Queensland and Brisbane Golf Club starting tomorrow.

Shelley Shin (2015) is the last Australian to win the title.

But New South Wales star Grace Kim says the Australians are ready to perform in Queensland this week.

“It’s be great to have an Aussie name on the title, and there’s a good bunch of us who are doing pretty well,’’ said Kim, the Youth Olympics gold medallist from Avondale Golf Club.

“Steph (Kyriacou), Doey (Choi), Cassie (Porter), we’ll all be together in Asia later this year (for the Asia-Pacific Championships). We’ll have a strong team there.’’

Karrie Webb scholarship holder Kim, who just turned 19, finished fourth in the Australian Master of the Amateurs tournament in Melbourne last week as a lead-up to this week’s Australian Amateur. She was happy with the result.

“Considering Melbourne courses are pretty tough, hard to adjust to,” she said.

“The landing has to be precise, the carry has to be right, the landing is important because the girls don’t spin it as much as the guys. Yes, it was tough but it was a good week overall.”

Kim is still benefiting from her week in Minnesota watching Hannah Green win the Women’s PGA Championship last year, which she describes as “the best week of my life”.

It drives her forward as she begins her last year as an amateur. She intends turning professional and joining the LPGA Tour school this August.

“I’ve got some tweaking to do with my game,’’ she said. “It’s getting there slowly. I’ve just got to back myself, really. I know it’s there. Sometimes you have off weeks and that drags you down.’’

The strokeplay section of the Amateur begins tomorrow at Royal Queensland and Brisbane, with 36 holes to be played across Tuesday and Wednesday. The top qualifiers progress to the matchplay rounds from Thursday, with the final on Sunday at Royal Queensland.


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